Handiham World for February 17, 2020

Logo for Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute, part of Allina Health

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of February 17, 2020

This is a free weekly news & information update from the Courage Kenny Handiham Program, serving people with disabilities in Amateur Radio since 1967.

Our contact information is at the end.

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https://handiham.org/audio/handiham17FEB2020.mp3


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Welcome to Handiham World.

In this edition:

  • A note from the coordinator
  • News in Assistive Technology
  • From the Mailbag
  • Interview of the Week
  • Ham Radio in the News
  • A Dip in the Pool
  • Website Update
  • Equipment Connection
  • Help Needed
  • Check into our nets!
  • …And more!

A note from the coordinator…

A couple weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the Maple Grove Radio Club meeting and talk about the Handiham Program. The club members were a great audience, and we even picked up a few new and returning volunteers for the Program. Jerry Kloss joined us that evening, and he even added a word or two here and there during the presentation.

Photo of February 2020 Maple Grove Radio Club meeting.

Along with the release of the new On the Air magazine, the ARRL is doing a new podcast to take a deeper look at some of the topics and projects included in the magazine. You can check it out at http://www.arrl.org/on-the-air-podcast.

There are still a few extra items from the latest merchandise list. If you want to see if something is available for you to order, please contact Pemdy.

Photo of stack of new gray sweatshirts with the Handiham Logo embroidered on them.

Radio Camp applications are in the mail. If you requested one, it should arrive sometime this week. If you haven’t requested one and you want to come to camp this year, please contact Pemdy as soon as possible.

Camp will include license class instruction along with lots of hands-on amateur radio and training in science, technology, math, and engineering. Instructors are experienced ham radio operators from many locations who come together each summer to make this great experience a reality for campers of all abilities. The week will also give campers the opportunity to learn from each other while enjoying traditional camp activities like swimming, meals in the great outdoors, and nightly campfires.

Photo of radio campers out on the pontoon boat on Lake George.

If you are having trouble receiving your E-Letter, you can always go to https://handiham.org/wordpress1/weekly-e-letter/ to see the latest E-Letter. Additionally, you can go to https://handiham.org/audio/handiham.mp3 to listen to the current podcast. These links are updated each time a new E-Letter and podcast is released.

Pemdy and I will be in the office during our usual hours this week. If you call the Handiham Program office, and we do not answer, please leave a message. When you leave that message, don’t forget to leave your name, phone number, call sign, if you have one, and the reason for your call. Also, if you send an email, please include your name along with your call sign, and the reason for your email to speed up the response time. As always, if you need to update anything like your contact information, call sign, license class, membership, or members only log-in information, you can email us at handiham@allina.com.

In the E-Letter, there is an article about using a smartphone to vote, another article about the ARRL’s new band planning discussion board, and the next part of a new interview with John Glass, NU6P. Of course, you can also find the regular articles you see here each week.

Do you have a story to share about assistive technology or ham radio related activities? Please send your articles and stories via email to Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or by calling me at 612-775-2290.


News in Assistive Technology

West Virginia Will Allow People with Disabilities to Vote by Smartphone

photo of Android Phone with the Sound Amplifier app on the play store screen

As more states in the US are offering the option to vote by smartphone, West Virginia is the poised to be the first to require that all counties enfranchise voters with disabilities by offering some form of online voting. Plans are in the works to use a mobile app, but security remains a concern. Apps can be vulnerable to hacking, but that is a risk officials see as worth taking to make voting possible for all citizens, not just those able to access current polling locations and equipment. You can read more at: https://www.engadget.com/2020/02/02/west-virginia-disabled-vote-by-smartphone/


From the Mailbag

Photo of mail carrier with mail bag and letter.

Hi Everyone,

Jerry suggested I send the information about the bill I helped get started thanks to my Senator. I felt that Family Care in Wisconsin, my home state, should include deaf-blind people. Family Care is long term support, such as someone to come in and help clean, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, transportation, and other things.

I did not feel it was right that in the rules for Family Care it included people who have a mental disability but not someone who is blind or deaf-blind such as myself. I heard about a listening session last year that my senator was having, so I went there and was advised to contact her office. First, I had to try to work through the Department of Health Services. Unfortunately, that did not get me anywhere. Just when I was going to give up, I got an email last summer saying that my senator was going to have her staff write up a bill.

This is where we all need to be reminded about the importance of advocating for ourselves and others. In this case, this bill would not have been written if I did not speak up. I hope my experience will encourage others to start advocating. Together, we can make a difference!

73,

Jennifer, KC9AGR


Interview of the Week

This week, we welcome back John Glass, NU6P. He is here to share his experience with Radio Camp last year and what he is looking forward to this summer at the next Radio Camp. Please join us for the next part of his interview.

Photo of arm in suit jacket with hand holding a large communications microphone.

LM: As a person who is blind, what was your experience getting around the camp?

JG: I found getting around the camp to be pretty easy. One of the things that I really enjoyed was the CW beacons. Maybe you can tell people a little bit about how those were developed and how they work because I thought the idea was really ingenious. And they just make getting around the camp so much easier for those of us who are totally blind.

LM: We have several beacons that were made to deliver Morse code, each of them with a different letter that corresponds with something that makes sense. So, near the dining hall is the letter D. There’s an intersection between the dining hall and the King building that the letter I is at. There’s a W by where the women’s cabins are and an M by where the men’s cabins are. There’s a K by the King building, which is where we have our classroom activities. So, those things enable people who are blind to be able to navigate around that camp much more independently.

JG: I think the thing that’s really important is that having those beacons really gives people a feeling of independence because as you’re walking down a path, and you get closer to a beacon, it’s definite confirmation that you’re going in the right direction and getting where you want to be.

LM: Absolutely. And those came about, I understand Jerry Kloss was involved in some of the development of those and then Lyle Koehler did the development of them, and the plans that we have for them are the ones he wrote up.

JG: That’s great!

LM: So, did you get a chance to make any random contacts while you were at camp?

JG: I did. As you know, last year we had two stations set up. We had the main station in the King building, and just to tell people a little about it, it was a Kenwood TS-590. And we had an LDG TW-1 talking watt meter hooked up, and that was nice. And that station operated primarily on 80, 20, 15, and 10 meters.

JG: And then, outside of the King building in the gazebo, we had a station set up that Matt had provided which was a Kenwood TS-2000, and we had various antennas set up for that station that allowed us to operate 40 through 6 meters.

JG: So, it was really a lot of fun being able to operate both of those stations, and of course we gave priority to campers, but I did have a chance to make a number of random contacts on both of those stations which was really, really great.

JG: And next year, one of the things that I’m hoping we can do is bring up an accessible 2 meter radio like the Kenwood TMV71a dual band radio and hook that up to the 2 meter beam that is on the same tower as the tri-bander because it would be a lot of fun to see who we could talk to from the camp on 2 meter FM. I assume that we’ll probably be able to hit the Park Rapids repeaters as well as some of the Bemidji repeaters, so that will be fun.

LM: Yes. We’re definitely going to have more stations at camp this year. There’ll be some additional locations with stations that we didn’t have last year, so for those who were at camp last year, there’s some additional stuff to look forward to.

JG: That will be really fun. One of the things that you might want to tell us about because you have more information than I do, you found a really neat radio which is a hand-held rig that has the ability to be used as a fox for transmitter hunting. We had several transmitter hunts, and they were all a lot of fun, but maybe you can tell people a little about that radio and how you found it.

LM: We have a dedicated fox hunt transmitter made by Byonics. We are able to set it to the frequency we want. We can set how often it transmits, so we can make these hunts more difficult as people develop their skills. And we can put that anywhere around the camp, and then we pair people who are blind with people who are sighted so they can focus on tracking rather than on mobility skills.

JG: It worked out very well. And one of the things that made that so nice was that this device is actually built as a fox for transmitter hunting, so it has the CW identifier built in. And everything that you set it up with is programmable via computer, so it’s very easy to configure it to the frequency, time intervals, call sign, other information that you need for transmitter hunting. It doesn’t require any external equipment, so it’s easy to set up and use.

Stay tuned for the final installment of our interview with John airing next week.


Ham Radio in the News

ARRL Creates New HF Band Planning Discussion Group

Photo of ARRL logo

The ARRL has set up a new HF band planning discussion group. The chairman of the HF Band Planning Committee will moderate the group. The committee would like to hear from hams about their recommendations for band planning. Even if you responded to the first call for ideas, the ARRL would like you to cross-post your responses to the new Band Planning discussion group. You can access the group at: https://groups.arrl.org/g/ARRL-HF-Band-Planning. You can learn more at: http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-creates-new-hf-band-planning-discussion-group


A Dip in the Pool
drawing of person studying

It’s time to test our knowledge by taking a dip in the question pool…

Let’s go to the Technician Class pool this week to a question about satellite contacts.

T8B12 asks: Which of the following is a good way to judge whether your uplink power is neither too low nor too high?

Possible answers are:
A. Check your signal strength report in the telemetry data.
B. Listen for distortion on your downlink signal.
C. Your signal strength on the downlink should be about the same as the beacon.
D. All of these choices are correct.

One of the primary purposes of satellite beacons is to offer a helpful reference for adjusting your transmitter, making answer C the correct choice. Telemetry data is generally unavailable to people accessing a satellite to make a contact. Listening for distortion is also not very helpful since if you are using enough power to distort your signal, you are probably causing interference to other users.


Website Update

Photo of the words website update with construction equipment working on the letters.

Here are the latest updates on the new Handiham.org website. Don’t forget to monitor the site for updates throughout the week. When changes are made, I will post to the website. You can also find the latest updates any time by going to https://handiham.org/wordpress1/website-updates/. If you have any feedback about the website, I would love to hear from you. If you are a current member and your credentials are not allowing you to login to the site, please contact Pemdy for assistance at handiham@allina.com or 612-775-2291.


Equipment Connection

Photo of Icom IC-7200 with LDG auto-tuner and power supply.

Equipment connections are happening, and the list is open! If you have a request for the Equipment Connection, contact me, leaving your name and phone number. I will call you to discuss your request. Please note that it may take several days for a return call due to all the other things going on in the Handiham Program. If you don’t hear back from me after two weeks, you may contact me a second time. Additionally, if you have received any equipment from the Handiham Program during the last 12 months, you will automatically be placed at the bottom of the list so that others can also participate in the Equipment Connection.

Many thanks to the numerous people who have offered equipment for Handiham Members. If you have equipment that you would like to donate to a Handiham Program member, please email Lucinda at Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or call 1-612-775-2290.


Help Needed

Photo of note with the words help needed written on it.

The Handiham Program needs contributors to Handiham World. Do you have a particular interest in amateur radio that you would like to share with others? Maybe you have a particular mode or band you like to operate and have learned a lot about. Or maybe you have some great stories to share from your experiences in the amateur radio hobby. Put your writing skills to work for Handiham World by sending your submissions to Lucinda.Moody@allina.com.

We are always looking for more readers, including some with a background in teaching in STEM related fields, especially if you have also worked with students requiring accommodations. We also need some readers with a background in teaching in STEM related fields, especially if you have also worked with students requiring accommodations. This volunteer position requires you to use your own equipment to record, however, we will provide the reading materials. If you or someone you know would like to try reading material for the members only section, please contact me for more information on how to submit a demo recording.

We need help updating our available resources for members. If you are blind and enjoy using your ham radio or assistive technology related devices, your assistance is especially needed. It would be a big help to your fellow Handiham Members if you would record a tutorial or product review. These need to be sent in Mp3 format, and the Handiham Program reserves the right to edit the recordings as needed before publishing in the Members Only section of the Handiham.org website. Please contact me at Lucinda.Moody@allina.com or 612-775-2290 if you have any questions.

I want to say a big thank you to those who have made or volunteered to make tutorials for the Members Only portion of the website. We have already had a number of members step up to offer their services, and their help is greatly appreciated! We also have some new readers who are working on some books, so keep watching for website updates as we add more content.


Check into our Handiham nets… Everyone is welcome!

How to find the Handiham Net:

  • The Handiham EchoLink conference is 494492. Connect via your iPhone, Android phone, PC, or on a connected simplex node or repeater system in your area.
  • The Handiham DMR Talkgroup on Brandmeister is 31990. On AllStar, it is available at node 47367.
  • The Handiham Net will be on the air daily. If there is no net control station on any scheduled net day, we will have a roundtable on the air get-together.

Cartoon multicolored stickman family holding hands, one wheelchair user among them.

Our daily Echolink net continues to operate for anyone and everyone who wishes to participate at 11:00 hours CDT (Noon Eastern and 09:00 Pacific), as well as Wednesday evenings at 19:00 hours CDT (7 PM). If you calculate GMT, the time difference is that GMT is six hours ahead of Minnesota time during the winter.

Doug, N6NFF, poses a trivia question in the first half of the Wednesday evening session, so check in early if you want to take a guess. The answer to the trivia question is generally given shortly after the half-hour mark. A big THANK YOU to all of our net control stations.


Membership

  • You can pay your Handiham dues and certain other program fees on line. Simply follow the link to our secure payment site, then enter your information and submit the payment.

    • Handiham annual membership dues are $15.00. The lifetime membership rate is $150.00.
      MEMBERSHIP DUES PAYMENT LINK
    • If you want to donate to the Handiham Program, please use our donation website. The instructions are at the following link:
      DONATION LINK
  • As always, while our other services require that you have a current Handiham Program membership, you do not have to be a member to receive the Handiham World E-Letter.

How to contact us

There are several ways to contact us.

Postal Mail:

Courage Kenny Handiham Program
3915 Golden Valley Road MR 78446
Golden Valley, MN 55422

E-Mail: handiham@allina.com

Preferred telephone: 1-612-775-2291
Toll-Free telephone: 1-866-HANDIHAM (1-866-426-3442)

Note: Tuesdays through Thursdays between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM United States Central Time are the best times to contact us.

You may also call Handiham Program Coordinator Lucinda Moody, AB8WF, at: 612-775-2290.

73, and I hope to hear you on the air soon!

For Handiham World, this is Lucinda Moody, AB8WF

The weekly e-letter is a compilation of assistive technology, operating information, and Handiham Program news. It is published on Mondays, and is available to everyone free of charge. Please email handiham@allina.com for changes of address, unsubscribes, etc. Include your old email address and your new address.